Monday, 5 May 2008

The Sea At Clovelly - Oil Painting

This painting captures the waves breaking on the shore at Clovelly in Devon.

Sea at Clovelly - Oil painting on canvas (40" x 40") by Benoit Philippe

For the composition, I played on the following elements:

  • I chose a square canvas to contrast with the roundness of the pebbles and the curve of the wave ;

  • The wave was not that big but there is nothing to really give a sense of proportion and the size of the wave is left to the viewer's imagination ;

  • I cropped the view to remove the sky and the horizon line. This adds to the dramatic effect.

For the first stage of the painting, I used mainly painting knives, covering the whole canvas quickly. Apart from the wave that was yellow ochre, the rest of the painting was in shades of cool greys. I liked the contrasts but felt that the colours were too sad and almost nocturnal. So I left the painting to dry completely and reworked it with colours.

The initial knife painting provided a great support to work on, with plenty of texture.

I glazed the rocks with ultramarine blue and alizarine crimson to obtain more interesting deep dark colours. I also painting some lighter areas to make them more tri-dimentional.

Working on the wave was the most difficult part. The yellow or light brown colour seemed almost unatural and I spent time working on it to find the right tones and the right colours so that they would not clash with the blue colour of the sea.

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